Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weekend Music Roundup (Record Store Day Edition)

So last Saturday was Record Store Day and I dutifully spent the afternoon cruising the vinyl bins at the local vintage store. Regular visitors to the Roundup may have noticed that I tend to purchase vintage vinyl rather than new releases. This is partially due to the fact that I live in the Woodstock area, which is naturally a mecca for old records. Last weekend was no different, and I picked up some solid classic rock albums. I also purchased some albums that I already own on CD because they rank among my favorites and I simply wanted to hear them spinning in all their fuzzy glory. Enjoy.

Blind John Davis - Stomping on a Saturday Night: I picked this one up without knowing anything about Blind John Davis other than the fact that old blind men have a knack for playing great blues music. Recorded live in the '70s, this is a great bit of Chicago blues. Blind John blazes on the piano, keeping a fiery Jerry Lee Lewis pace. The crowd is really into it and it makes a great evening record. Another curious thing about this album is that its stamped, having belonged once to a Philly FM station. Three tracks are marked for airplay. Pretty good choices too.

The View - I Need That Record: One of the cool things about Record Store Day is all the exclusive limited edition 7" records put out for the day. I wasn't lucky enough to get my hands on a physical copy of this one, but I did get to hear it and it's awesome. I reviewed The View's newest album a few weeks ago and said that I though it would grow on me and it has. I've been listening to it a ton. There's just something dynamic and electric about everything this band does. This '80s cover is no different. Completely fun.

Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother: One of my ten favorite albums of all time, I bought this on vinyl despite owning it on CD for twenty years. I was amazed how fresh it sounded simply by the change of format. This album, especially the title track, is full of little sounds within bigger expansive songs. All of those small moments come through so much clearer on vinyl and actually made me enjoy this favorite album more than I ever have.

Chuck Berry - Sweet Little Rock and Roller: I bought this for two reasons, one obviously being the fantastically exploitative cover. The other reason was that I owned nothing by this rock 'n' roll pioneer. Like everyone, I know many of these songs by heart but listening to the record, I was still amazed by the guitar playing. You can hear how Chuck Berry takes the blues and speeds it up, adds more rhythm and then just explodes. A very good compilation of tracks.

King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King: The 1969 debut album from London's prog giants is another album I already owned on CD but couldn't resist. This is really an album of two stories. The first is track one, side one: "21st Century Schizoid Man" which is one the best songs ever recorded. The band was trying to make a paranoid jazz fusion song and ended recording what is probably the birth of heavy metal. The rest of the album is more traditional spacey prog rock. Simply outstanding stuff.

David Bowie - The Man Who Sold the World: I flipped right past this in the bins, not recognizing the cover, which apparently is the original cover even though it looks nothing like a Bowie record. This 1970 album is when Bowie starts to move away from the failed sound of his early career and into the glam rock, space persona that would rocket him to stardom in the years that followed. Though an uneven album to be sure, there are a few amazing tracks here including "The Width of a Circle", "The Supermen" and the title track. A nice buy.

Leon Russell - Leon Live: Released in 1973, Leon was already a star, having played with everyone who was anyone. This triple LP is simply massive. His signature piano blues meets the Rolling Stones vibe really shines on this live album. Side 5 features a full side melody of "Jumping Jack Flash" and "Youngblood" and probably one of the best things I've heard in a long time. The vinyl is a wonderful package too, which always makes it that much better.

Neil Young - Rust Never Sleeps: Again, I already owned this, but it was reasonably priced and it's a nice record, even if I do greatly prefer Live Rust (the double album released shortly after this). This is a strange record in that there are few songs that I just don't care for, which is rare on a Neil album. However it does feature some of Neil's best efforts with an incredible version of "Powderfinger" and "Pocahontas" and probably the best versions "Hey, Hey" and "My, My".

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